If you look for the synonym of ‘make’ you find the word ‘brand’, well after reading Naomi Klein’s book NO LOGO she sheds light on why these 2 words have an important role and how most of us wouldn’t think twice about using them interchangeably. Klein says, ““Since many of today’s best- known no longer produce products and advertise them, but rather buy products and ‘brand’ them, these companies are forever on the prowl for creative new ways to build and strengthen their brand images”.
Klein explains it in the best way possible that in todays time Companies no longer produce their products but rather, they want to evade paying wages that are industry approved and instead they turn to third world countries. The mentality that is held by these companies is that “The third world, as they say, has always existed for the comfort of the first”.
NO LOGO is a revolutionary dogma, which tackles multinational corporations’ that manufacture their products in ‘sweatshops’ like Manila and Jakar ta. These companies produce their products in third world countries to avoid paying live-able wages to their employee’s and also providing a comfortable workplace that is both safe and modern for their employee’s.
Therefore, as consumers we have the right to question where the products we purchase originate from, and the ethical standards of the company that produces these products. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding advertising have changed over the decades and the focus has shifted.
Are we as consumers doing our duty? Are we supporting, or even advertising these companies, in turn endorsing the mistreatment of those whom made it?
As consumers we should be more inquisitive and as Klein gives an example of the difference inquisitiveness can make, consumers and in this case students of a university in fact, shut down a subsidiary of one of the biggest multinational corporations in war torn Burma.
The company Pepsi had an exclusive vending agreement with Ottawa’s Carleton University in 1993. This exclusive agreement caused an outcry from students of the university for, “being forced into this tacit product endorsement. The students were determined to not give their official drink a warm welcome”.
Members who belonged to the campuses social-justice organization and the universities chapter of public interest and Research group, “discovered that PepsiCo was produced and selling its soft drinks in Burma, the brutal dictatorship now called Myanmar” Klein shows how these university students took on Pepsi and the game plan being, to “pressure schools to terminate food or beverage contracts selling PepsiCo products until it leaves Burma”.
The boycott against Pepsi became international and even involved the leader of Burma’s oppositional party Aung San Suu Kyi, who was elected in 1990 but was stopped from taking office by the military. Aung San Suu Kyi, in a speech read by her husband said, “please use your liberty to promote ours” she also stated that we should “take a principled stand against companies which are doing business with the military regime of Burma”. (Incidentally, this is the same Aung San Suu Kyi, who now, freed from her house detention is refusing to say one word of criticism against the pogroms taking place against the Rohingya citizens of Mynamar).
At first, Pepsi did what Klein called a “paper shuffle” due to Pepsi products still being sold and produced in Burma. The ongoing boycott finally eventually led Pepsi to announce ‘total disengagement’ from Burma on January 24 1997”.
In reality, the consumer in the end is what these corporation’s rely on and if these companies are just ‘branding’ and using third world countries as a step ladder, then it should be in our moral obligation to stand up and stop supporting these corporations, just like the university students from Ottawa’s Carleton University and many others. Ni, who was the coordinator for the American students movement stated that, “We have the grassroots power to yank one of the most powerful cooperation in the world”.